Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Images of The Lord Howe Chestnut That Once Stood in the Manor of Pelham

Once a giant Chestnut stood in Pelham. For more than one hundred years Pelham residents knew that giant tree as the "Lord Howe Chestnut". They knew it by that name because, according to tradition, a few days after the Battle of Pelham on October 18, 1776 British Commander Howe dined with his officers and Loyalist citizens beneath its branches. According to the same tradition, on that occasion General Howe told his officers and local citizens not to be afraid as the Rebels were already beaten.

The tree no longer exists. It once stood at the edge of today's parking lot on top of the high hill that overlooks Friendship Field in the Glover Athletic Complex. The local Boy Scout organization built a Boy Scout Cabin next to the tree. The giant stone chimney of that lovely cabin still stands -- covered with vines -- at the edge of the parking lot only a few feet away from where the tree once towered.

A brief reference to the tree appeared in a book published in 1913 along with a photograph of it. Additionally, the files of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham have a number of photographs of the tree. Below is an excerpt from the book, followed by two images of the tree.

"In the woods not far from the large stone Pell mansion is the 'Lord Howe chestnut' beneath whose unbrageous branches Lord Howe and his officers lunched with a number of Westchester loyalists whom he had invited for the occasion. On the morning of October 23, 1776, Westchester County beheld a most magnificent pageant. Preparatory to pursuing Washington towards White Plains, Lord Howe drew up for review his entire army consisting of about 10,000 men each clad in his Sunday uniform. The soft green of the Hessians formed a charming contrast with the brilliant scarlet of the British regulars, while the bright arms of the troops glistened in the sunlight. After riding along the lines to inspect the army, Howe and his officers with the loyalist gentlemen, sat down at noon to partake of some refreshments. 'Let us hope, however,' we read, 'that the meal of these fine gentlemen was not spoiled by the presence of that rough old German, the Count Von Knyphausen, who tho a dashing soldier and a brave man, was no courtier and anything but a pleasant dining companion.'"

Source: Cook, Harry T., The Borough of the Bronx 1639 - 1913 Its Marvelous Development and Historical Surroundings, p. 177 (NY, NY: Privately Published by The Author 1913).

Source: Id.
Source: Courtesy of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham (man standing next to the Chestnut trunk is Reginald Pelham Bolton).

Please Visit the Historic Pelham Web Site
Located at http://www.historicpelham.com/.
Please Click Here for Index to All Blog Postings.

Labels: , , , ,


At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic article I am a member of the The Chestnut Club Foundation and I passed this article on to the other members. What's so interesting about it also
.. Is that I grew up in Pelham and in the 70's when I was a kid we used to play in that old house it wasn't buried yet and as kids we could never figure out why that was there until I read your article..


Post a Comment

<< Home